Lucky 13: Davante Adams Returns, Ties Don Hutson with Monster Game

Just a few days after suffering a concussion, Davante Adams turned in one of the most productive days in Packers history.

Before he cleared a spot for himself in the Green Bay Packers’ record books, Davante Adams had to get cleared to even suit up for Thursday night’s 26-10 win over the Chicago Bears.

Just four days earlier in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Adams took a brutal hit from linebacker Sean Lee when he cut across the field on a third-quarter catch from Aaron Rodgers. It was third-and-11 from Green Bay’s 24-yard line and Adams got 12, hanging on for the first down even as he crumpled to the ground. Lying face down, propped up on his elbows and forearms with the ball under his chest, there was no doubt from those watching from the stands, sidelines or living rooms that his day was done.

How many days he might be out of the lineup was the bigger question. With Green Bay limping through a short week of practice and missing its top two running backs, a tight end and four members of its defensive backfield, the answer that doctors gave Adams and the team was hardly expected.

“I think I was notified by 1 p.m. that he was available,” coach Mike McCarthy said of his No. 3 receiver.

Adams entered the NFL’s concussion protocol on Monday, despite saying after the Cowboys game that he didn’t think he had a concussion. But as he said with a laugh after Thursday’s win, “You can’t ask a concussed man questions.”

After initially feeling sleepy on Sunday, Adams said he felt more confident about his condition the next day. But it would come down to passing a series of tests. He said he met with doctors Thursday morning for a final checkup to make sure everything was good.

“We’ve got these computer things we’ve got to do,” Adams said. “It’s more of like the checking motor skills and reaction time and things like that, making sure your brain is clicking back where it was before.”

After hauling in 13 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, it might be clicking even better than it was before the hit. Adams’ reception total wasn’t just a career best; it tied the immortal Don Hutson for the second-most catches in a game in Packers history. Hutson had 13 receptions for 209 yards on Oct. 18, 1942, vs. the Cleveland Rams.

Aside from seeing Hutson’s name in giant letters across the street from Lambeau Field on the Don Hutson Center indoor practice facility, Adams admitted he didn’t know a lot about him.

“Not too much, I’m not too great with the knowledge and history of Don Hutson, but I know he had 13 catches in a game,” Adams said.

When Adams was told that Hutson also set the team record of 14 catches in a game just more than a month later that same season, his eyes got wide with astonishment.

“Really? Fourteen?” he said. “Whew. That’s cool.”

While Adams put himself in good company historically, he had some company on his own team Thursday night, with a record-setting day by his quarterback, who set a team record with 39 completions, topping Brett Favre’s 36 completions against Chicago on Dec. 5, 1993. Rodgers did it on 56 attempts, racking up 326 yards and three touchdowns, for a 102.2 quarterback rating.

Adams was one of three Packers receivers to notch double-digit grabs on the night, with teammate Randall Cobb snagging 11 for 95 and a score and Ty Montgomery — who also served as the team’s main running back with 60 yards rushing — added 66 more through the air. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s just the second time in NFL history a trio of players have had 10-plus catches in a game. New England’s Leroy Thompson, Ben Coates and Michael Timpson did it in 1994.

The game hardly had the look of anything special through the first two quarters. Green Bay led just 6-3 at the half, settling for field goals after end-zone passes to Cobb didn’t pan out. They fell behind 10-6 when Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd sacked Rodgers, knocking the ball out of his hand and then recovering it in the end zone.

But Rodgers found Adams for a 5-yard score midway through the third quarter when he leaped into the air on the right side of the end zone and caught the ball on the back of cornerback De’Vante Bausby’s shoulder. Then in the fourth quarter, Adams was left wide open on a left-side crossing play with Montgomery when no Bear sdefender followed him to the middle of the end zone. Cornerback Tracy Porter — who shadowed Jordy Nelson most of the night — appeared to have responsibility for Adams on the play. After the score, Porter was jumping up and down out of frustration

Adams, meanwhile, jumped into the stands for the second time.

For all the struggles and disappointments of a season ago, the third-year receiver is finally fulfilling the high expectations so many had for him. Given the Packers’ struggles, inconsistencies and injuries on offense, it couldn’t be coming at a better time.

“In a sense, it’s a statement game,” said Adams, who is tied with Nelson for a team-leading five touchdowns and is second behind Cobb with 350 receiving yards. “I’m ready to play. I felt good. Especially coming off of getting hit last week, just to show my teammates more than anything, my teammates and the coaches. I’m not worried about anybody else, other than my family, my coaches and everybody in my inner circle, because the rest of the people are going to be back and forth, whether or not they’re with you. But the people, loved ones, friends and family are the ones that are going to be there through it all. So I just try to make sure I continue to prove to them I’m worthy of being out there catching balls.”

And it’s been 74 years since any Packer caught more in a single game than Adams did on Thursday.

W. Keith Roerdink has covered the Packers since 1992. E-mail him at karoer@msn.com.


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